1996 World Figure Skating Championships

Edmonton, Canada

17 - 24 March 1996

LADIES - Qualifying A
LADIES - Qualifying B

LADIES - Qualifying A

  FS  Skater 

   1  Midori Ito (JPN)
   2  Tara Lipinski (USA)
   3  Krisztina Czako (HUN)
   4  Meijia LU (CHN)
   5  Tatiana Malinina (UZB)
   6  Denise Jaschek (AUT)
   7  Silvia Fontana (ITA)
   8  Helena Grundberg (SWE)
   9  Ivana Jakupcevic (CRO)
  10  Marta Andrade (SPN)
  11  Sofia Penkova (BUL)
  12  Stephanie Main (GBR)
  13  Alma Lepina (LAT)
  14  Hyung-Kyung Choi (ROK)
  15  Marta Chisu (ROM)


      Elena Hambartsoumiam (ARM)



Ito won this group easily. She received marks in the 5.7 range despite stepping out of triple axel (then tacking on a double toe), and two footing triple Salchow. Our first impressions since seeing her compete in her previous eligible career: She is slimmer with less muscle bulk in the legs. Her jumps are not as high, but still plenty strong. Her wrap is not as pronounced as before, but today she had a tendancy to reach for the ice on her jumps. She got the best marks of the day and showed herself to be a serious contender. However, because she also had her problems, it is clear the ladies event remains wide open.

Lipinski landed all her triples through triple Lutz, only falling on triple flip. She received marks in the 5.4 range (except for the Czech judge who gave her 4.8s), indicting that most of the judges will take her serious in the main event. Given the performances from both groups today, she has a chance to make the top ten this week.

LADIES - Qualifying B

  FS   Skater

   1   Maria Butyrskaya (RUS)
   2   Yulia Vorobieva (AZE)
   3   Tanja Szewczenko (GER)
   4   Tonia Kwiatkowski (USA)
   5   Jennifer Robinson (CAN)
   6   Lenka Kulovana (CZE)
   7   Mojca Kopac (SLO)
   8   Lucinda Ruh (SWI)
   9   Vanessa Gusmeroli (FRA)
  10   Zuzanna Swed (POL)
  11   Yulia Lavrenchuk (UKR)
  12   Maria Nikitochkina (BLR)
  13   Miriam Manzano (AUS)
  14   Veronique Fleury (FRA)
  15   Shirene Human (SAF)
  16   Ja-Lin Weng (TPE)


There was some fine skating in this, the more difficult of the two groups (except for Ito).

Butyrskaya skated a clean program with triple toe, loop, and Lutz. It was very nicely done and given marks in the 5.6 range, just slightly lower than the marks Ito received in the other group. Vorobieva also skated a strong clean program, and a made a strong impression in the qualifying round.

Szewczenko had a fairly good skate of a nice program, but also had a few problems. Triple toe, triple loop, and triple Lutz - double toe were landed but she also fell on triple flip and an individual triple Lutz. She seemed pleased with her performance at this point in the week, and we will get to see her again on Friday.

Kwiatkowski had a fairly good skate, getting off to a strong start, but having problems later in the program. She put her hand down on triple loop, two footed a closing double axel, and was loosing speed near the end. Nevertheless, it was a big improvement over the pat and she received marks in the 5.3 range. She should have no problem making the top ten if she skates two clean programs in the main event.

The Canadian champion Robinson also had a fairly good skate, landing triple toe, Salchow, and loop. She popped triple Lutz, and doubled or singled a few other jumps. At this point she also seems likely to move up from her result from last year.


     SP   FS  Skater

 1.   1    1  Michelle Kwan (USA)
 2.   2    2  Lu Chen (CHN)
 3.   3    3  Irina Slutskaya (RUS)
 4.   4    4  Maria Butyrskaya (RUS)
 5.   7    5  Surya Bonaly (FRA)
 6.   5    6  Tanja Szewczenko (GER)
 7.   6    7  Midori Ito (JPN)
 8.   9    8  Tonia Kwiatkowski (USA)
 9.   8    9  Yulia Vorobieva (AZE)
10.  11   10  Hanae Yokoya (JPN)
11.  12   12  Krisztina Czako (HUN)
12.  10   14  Elena Liashenko (UKR)
13.  13   15  Tatiana Malinina (UZB)
14.  18   13  Vanessa Gusmeroli (FRA)
15.  23   11  Tara Lipinski (USA)
16.  17   16  Lenka Kulovana (CZE)
17.  16   17  Yulia Lavrenchuk (UKR)
18.  15   18  Mojca Kopac (SLO)
19.  20   19  Lucinda Ruh (SWI)
20.  14   22  Meijia Lu (CHN)
21.  24   20  Jennifer Robinson (CAN)
22.  22   21  Stephanie Main (GBR)
23.  19   23  Maria Nikitochkina (BLR)
24.  21   24  Silvia Fontana (ITA) 
Final not reached

25.  25   -   Zuzanna Szwed (POL)
26.  26   -   Marta Andrade (SPN)
27.  27   -   Helena Grundberg (SWE)
28.  28   -   Sofia Penkova (BUL)
29.  29   -   Ivana Jakupcevic (CRO)
30.  30   -   Denise Jaschek (AUT)

Notes following the short program:

Michelle Kwan is on track to become one of the youngest World Champions in recent years. She skated a clean short program with strength, determination, and poise. She received seven 5.9 and two 5.8 marks for her second mark The only lady who appears to have a reasonable chance of stopping her is Lu Chen, who skated a clean program of almost identical content with elegance and grace - though perhaps a bit slowly in places.

Slutskaya attempted a slightly more difficult program with triple Luzt - double loop and triple loop. We thought her program was clean from our vantage point though sloppy in the landings, but some of the judges appear to have taken deductions for two footing the triple Lutz.

Skating with an injury, Ito crashed on triple axel in her combination jump. For the remainder of the program she seemed in discomfort, and thoroughly not enjoying herself on the ice. Even with generous first marks she was only able to eek out a sixth place finish, and can only get a bronze medal without getting help from some other skaters. As she left kiss-and-cry she has holding her left side and appeared in pain.

Bonaly also had problems today, crashing on triple Lutz in what should have been her combination. Later in the program she tacked a double toe on her triple toe to make it into a combination. We thought her program fairly "normal" for once, and well presented but with the error she ended in 7th place and pretty much out of the running for any medal.

Kwiatkowski gave a lively clean performance no less difficult than any of the other top ladies. Further, we thought her Firebird far superior to Ito's, and thus feel she was marked terribly low, being put in 9th place.

Lipinski did not have a good skate today, falling on the double loop in triple Lutz - double loop, and also on triple flip. She managed to hold 23rd place, avoiding the cut, and allowing her to skate in the final tomorrow.

Notes following the long program:

Was Michelle great, or what? Seven triples, two in combination with double toes, a program perfectly in character, and two 6.0s in the second mark. Lu Chen also gave a wonderful performance, received two 6.0s in the second mark, and three first place ordinals. She landed six triples in a beautiful classical program, whose only weakness (from our point of view) was a lack of speed in places and a shortage of connecting footwork. It was a remarkable finish to have a skater received two 6.0's and still not win. Afterwards, Chen was clearly unhappy with the results and indicated she felt she should have won.

Slutskaya started out crashing on triple Lutz, but subsequently got things under control landing 6 triples with a nice presentation that included all her signature spins.

Having seen Ito at Worlds her first time around, watching her here this week was truley a painful experience. She was reportedly is ill or injured but the details are obscure. She ended up a dissappointing 7th. Afterwards it was learned she is suffering from anemia and was hospitalized one day this week.

Both Kwiatkowski and Lipinski had good skates today, with Kwiatkowski making an error on only one jump and Lipinski skating clean. Lipinski landed the most difficult combination of the evening, a triple Salchow - triple loop.

Kwan on skating after Chen's 6.0's: "I thought, oh my God, what will I have to do to win ... Then I thought, Oh heck, just go for everything."

On being the World Champion: "I can't believe I'm World Champion. Oh my God!"

Frank Caroll on skating after Chen's 6.0's: "I told her, you have to believe in yourself that you can do this."

Kwan on her 6.0's: "We worked very hard on the artistry and the new look."

On skating with emotion: "I think every skater should skate fom inside."

On her tears on the podium: "It's been a long term goal of my and there were all the flags waving."

Chen on getting 6.0's and loosing: "I think I skated the best, and did my best. It is up to the judges to give the marks. ... The 6.0's were a compensation, but there was no Chinese judge on the panel."

On her feelings about her performance: "I felt happy because I skated really well and got two 6.0's, and dissappointed I came in second."

On how she was marked: "I skated very well and Michelle also skated very well. With no Chinese judge on the panel there must be an effect."

Slutskaya on watching Chen and Kwan: "Both girls deserved it (their marks)."

On coming back from her first fall: "Of course it is quite difficult to come back after a fall, but I just tried my best after it."

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